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Report examines barriers that transgender people face when seeking mental health treatment

The 19th, an independent, non-profit newsroom that focuses on gender issues, has a heart-wrenching story this week about the difficulties transgender individuals face in accessing mental health treatment.

Reporter Kate Sosin writes that transgender individuals are finding it frustratingly difficult to locate a mental health clinician who has experience with and is knowledgeable about trans issues.

They interview at least two trans people who have spent more than 2 years trying to find a therapist who can help them with mental health concerns and issues specific to being trans, which is way too long of a wait when you need help. That's true for anyone but especially concerning when so many trans people, 77% according to a 2015 U.S. Trans Survey which Sosin references, said they wanted therapy but only 58 percent had received it.

It's a substantial and unfortunate gap, one which researchers believe still holds true in 2021, a year when political backlash against transgender legislative issues and people has intensified dramatically.

Sadly, Sosin writes, "A leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, the Human Rights Campaign, has deemed 2021 the worst in history for anti-trans legislation."

The Trevor Project's most recent survey on transgender youth only reinforces the need to close the treatment gap. The organization found that the majority of trans-youth, 70% of them, described their mental health as poor most of the time, or always, during COVID-19 and 42% had seriously considered attempting suicide during the past year.

As Sosin accurately suggests, to have any hope of addressing the lack of therapists who have an understanding of trans concerns, there needs to be a greater emphasis on the population in educational institutions for healthcare workers.

And that isn't happening yet.

Sosin quotes Jamison Green, past president of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, as saying, “What we need is to have this stuff incorporated into required training for all doctors. We’re not culturally in a space for that yet…”

See 19th’s full article here including more about the devastating impact of the pandemic on trans people.

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